iPhone App Store Blinders

Written by Jason Grigsby on

What happens when you are so enamored with iPhone apps that you forget about the rest of your mobile strategy? Chanel’s iPhone App is what happens.

Chanel was one of the early innovators in using the iPhone App Store as a marketing vehicle. They launched their iPhone application in August 2008.

Chanel's iPhone application

The application provides the following a decent set of features. Nothing earth shattering, but they make sense for what Chanel would like to accomplish.

So what’s to complain about? Try finding the application on your phone.

Assume for a second that you don’t know that the application exists. So you’re really not looking for an application. You’re simply trying to find a local store.

You open Google in Mobile Safari and search for “Chanel.”

None of the results mention the iPhone App, but that’s ok because the top result is Chanel.com. Surely you can find what you are looking for there.

Screen shot of Chanel.com home page on iPhone. Empty page with broken icon due to the fact the entire page is in Flash.

On your iPhone, Chanel.com is an empty page with a icon indicating a broken media file. The whole page is written in Flash which doesn’t work on the iPhone.

Not only can you not find any information about Chanel including where the local store might be, but you won’t even find a link to the iPhone application that they spent thousands of dollars developing.

I wish I could say this was uncommon. Unfortunately, this is typical of the mindset of American businesses when it comes to mobile. Everyone wants an iPhone application. Business logic be damned.

What good is it to have an iPhone application if no one can find it? Shouldn’t anyone be able to find your store from their mobile web browser regardless of whether they have your app or even have an iPhone?

I love my iPhone, but an iPhone app does not constitute a mobile strategy.

Jason Grigsby

Jason Grigsby is one of the co-founders of Cloud Four, Mobile Portland and Responsive Field Day. He spends far too much time obsessing over mobile and the web. Follow him at @grigs.

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